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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, April 26, 2002

Letters to the Editor

Welfare recipients aren't 'owed' anything

A former welfare recipient sues the state because he believes he and thousands of others were owed money because the state of Hawai'i cut benefits to try to stretch its limited resources. Something about the word "owed" disturbed me. I got out my Webster's Dictionary and found "owed" to mean, "to be under obligation to pay or repay in return for something received."

I was just wondering what the welfare recipients did to be "owed" tax dollars. Now don't get me wrong; I strongly believe we must help those who need help. We as a people should be judged on how we take care of those who can't take care of themselves. A helping hand helps us all.

As you can see, it is the word "owed" that bothers me. Welfare is not the issue. I may not be politically correct here, but it is my opinion, and you at least owe me that.

Roy Kamisato

Friends, community helped during ordeal

The family of Tracey Tominaga would like to thank the many family members, friends and church members who were diligently praying for her recovery.

You have offered your love and encouragement the past two and half months, which have sustained us during this difficult ordeal. The Lord is so good, leading the police to the recovery of Tracey and bringing closure for our family.

Mahalo to the media, Hawai'i Bureau of Investigations and the many police officers who worked long hours until they finally were able to find her body. Words cannot express the gratitude we feel. God bless you all.

The Tominaga Family

Driving is stressful, leads to road rage

Hawai'i has problems with road rage. Teenagers who don't know how to drive properly cause most of the road rage.

Four years ago, I was a teenager who was eager to learn how to drive, and after four months of driving, I found that driving is stressful.

Road rage includes playing loud music, stopping in the middle of the road to talk story with pedestrians or other drivers, speeding, tailgating, giving people the middle finger, changing lanes without signaling and driving recklessly.

Another problem is the elderly. Some drive too slowly and others drive recklessly and speed. They even forget to turn their turn signals off.

Some solutions to prevent road rage are: Don't give other drivers obscene gestures, don't use your horn to express your feelings, don't tailgate, don't use the cell phone while driving, don't play loud music, avoid using high beams, and always give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.

Brandon Liu

Hawai'i needs higher overall traffic speeds

Living in California and driving in another 10 to 12 states has brought me to some interesting observations and conclusions about driving and speed in Hawai'i:

• The observed speed limit on all roadways in Honolulu is 20 mph, regardless of any posted limits.

• Freeway speed limits (H-1 in particular) is 40 mph, meaning it does not matter what the DOT posts; people drive 40 mph in the left lane here, including trucks and buses, which are not even permitted in the left lane in states that have true freeway systems.

• Turn signals are as foreign as French here. Motorists may as well have the turn signals removed from their steering columns and replaced with a pair of muffler suppressors to dampen the noise from those tricked-out Hondas.

I have no idea who put the idea in people's heads that there is excessive speeding on this island. Drivers here move slower than the last day of school and with no sense of urgency or courtesy.

If anything, Hawai'i needs higher overall traffic speeds to help alleviate congestion.

Travis P. Heflin

Homelessness will always be with us

Regarding the April 22 front-page story on the homeless problem in Hawai'i: You cannot cure a problem that has no end. You can only treat it.

Treating homelessness has become a growth industry in the United States. The problem is that it does not help the homeless much. It provides jobs for those running the agencies and programs.

I am not sure that all the homeless people want to be helped, other than to be fed and get by from day to day. This is a free country and that is their business, as long as no laws are broken.

Yes, a shelter is a bad place to stay, by its very nature. Yes, it is dog-eat-dog, because those with little tend to feed off each other. What there is little of is hope.

Ronald A. Young
'Ewa Beach

Abercrombie learned how to stay in power

The April 22 Advertiser carried a story disclosing Neil Abercrombie's very considerable political war chest. Abercrombie has become very adept at raising hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Perhaps one reason is that he was the sole Hawai'i member of Congress last year to vote for the tax bill for the wealthy (40 percent goes to the richest 1 percent of the U.S. population). Now those with money have the opportunity to express their gratitude.

Some of us remember Neil Abercrombie running against Hiram Fong for a U.S. Senate seat 30 years ago and throwing coins at people to protest the corruption of the political process by money. Now he, too, has become the creature of the people who own America.

Sad, yeah?

Noel Jacob Kent

Orange plastic fence should be removed

To your list of unfinished parks and recreational facilities, add the Queen's Surf promenade, makai of Kapi'olani Park on upper Kalakaua Avenue.

The area between the snack bar and the aquarium has been completely re-landscaped and it looks good. The work was finished over six months ago, but it's still surrounded by an ugly orange plastic fence.

Recently, staff opened a couple of sections of the fence for designated pathways, but 95 percent of the fence remains.

What is it going to take to get the fence removed and the area fully opened to residents and visitors?

Edward K. Conklin

Green iguanas have become kama'aina

I think the perspective on Hawai'i's green iguana population is out of hand once again.

Years and years ago, Honolulu Zoo officials tabulated hundreds of iguanas populating deep in the Nu'uanu-Pali valley alone. Just a few years ago, this same anti-iguana fervor rose again with the same argument: threats to Native Hawaiian bird eggs and tourism.

The "do something now" position of Don McDiarmid Jr. (Letters, April 14) might have worked 20 years ago; it's been that long. We can't catch them all now. If achieved, this impossible feat would be akin to St. Patrick driving all the snakes out of Ireland.

In defense of the already-established green iguana, I'll confirm that they are vegetarian, vegan even. They like fruit and vegetables, especially red ones. There are other species of iguana that may eat eggs, but not the green one.

It is ridiculous to think green iguanas, deep in the valley, are going to scare tourists away. This isn't like the story "Jaws." I really doubt that a tourist, spotting a green iguana, would point his finger and scream "Godzilla!" and catch the first flight back home. I bet his reaction would be, "How interesting. Did you see that? I didn't get a picture."

Keith Kersting

Thanks to all involved

I would like to use your forum to thank the Hawaiian Humane Society for putting together the efforts to rescue the dog from the tanker.

Those who left that poor dog on the tanker should be punished, but I'm sure they won't or can't be.

I know you are taking good care of the dog, and please find her a good home where she will never have to worry again about being abandoned.

Thanks to all who put forth the time and energy to rescue the dog. May God bless you all.

Donna Manuel
Helena, Ala.

$50,000 no big deal

I have been tracking the story regarding the tanker Insinko and the dog. My feeling is $50,000 is not that much. The safety of the shipping lanes is important also. My hat's off to all those involved in this rescue.

Not only rescuing an animal, but preventing possible accidents in the shipping lanes that could become human rescues.

Terry L. Theis

Have captain help out

Instead of spending $30,000 more to send in experts to catch Forgea, just send the captain there to call the dog.

Lance Wong

Dog owner should pay

I'm curious to know why no one has asked the owner of the pet if he would spend the $50,000 to rescue his dog. It is his responsibility, isn't it?

Ralph Yasuoka

BRT proposal means congestion, tax burden

The in-town portion of the city's Bus/Rapid Transit proposal is a very restrictive undertaking: It restricts the free flow of traffic; it restricts the free enterprise of private carriers by threatening their livelihood; it restricts open discussion of reasonable alternatives for real traffic congestion solutions; and it restricts advancement of the quality of life in our urban area by overburdening the city taxpayers with unwieldy capital and operations costs.

What does the in-town BRT really mean? It means compounded congestion on main thoroughfares by 60-foot trams every two to four minutes that eat up traffic lanes.

In spite of the city administration's claims, this will not get cars off the road. It will cause cars to circumnavigate the main traffic thoroughfares into surrounding communities and neighborhoods, increasing noise and pollution in residential areas.

The BRT supplemental draft environmental impact statement states: "BRT would result in over 18 percent work trips on transit ... and 14.7 percent with no-build." That's only a 3.3 percent increase in work trips at a cost of nearly $1 billion in 1998 dollars — not including debt service. And the operations and maintenance is a whopping 71 percent, subsidized by city taxpayers to supplement the fares taken in.

Yet, Councilman Duke Bainum's resolution adopted by the City Council last year places a 33 percent ceiling on any transit subsidy.

Together, this is going to cost the city taxpayers $83 million in capital costs and $133 million in operations subsidy, with in-town fares covering only 4 percent of the operations cost. This capital and operations cost totals $216 million in city taxpayer dollars paid annually as of 2010 — with only 3 minutes saved from downtown to Waikiki.

Also, what the BRT really means is land development and higher property taxes along transit corridors, forcing small businesses out of once affordable business districts. The impact statement is not shy about exposing this objective, as it states repeatedly that more desirable land use and development patterns in coordination with specific developers are in store for our now stable urban communities.

The construction jobs are temporary — but the impact on our streets, in our neighborhoods and on our livelihoods will be here to stay for several generations if the in-town BRT is allowed to roll forward on the fast track, driven right at us by the Big Bucks Boys.

Michelle Spalding Matson